You are on page 1of 2

The blurred lines of copyright infringement in the music

Copyright infringement in music has always been a grey area with intellectual
property experts, mostly because it is very hard to determine when the notes or
lyrics infringe on notes or lyrics from another song or songs. However, there are
ways to protect your music from the start, or to gain a later battle with someone
who has copied your work. Here are the most famous cases of lawsuits for
copyright infringement that were settled in or outside the court.
The most famous, or rather infamous, case in recent years is definitely the
lawsuit against Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams for their stellar hit Blurred
Lines from 2013. The family of Marvin Gaye filed a suit claiming Thicke stole
from Gaye's "Got to Give It Up", a hit from 1977. The Gaye estate has brought a
heap of evidence to the table, including an "expert report by musicologist Judith
Finell detailing 'at least eight substantially similar compositional features'"
between the two songs. After two years, the jury found he two songwriters guilty
of copying Marvin Gayes Got to Give It Up, released in 1977, and ordered them
to pay $7.3 million of the songs estimated $16 million in profits to Gayes
But, Thicke and Williams are not the only ones accused of stealing someone
elses intellectual work. A Pennsylvania judge allowed a lawsuit to move forward
in the matter of band Spirit versus the band Led Zeppelin. There is hardly anyone
on our planet who doesnt know the opening riff to Led Zeppelin's 1971 hit
"Stairway to Heaven." Play it side-by-side with the 1968 song "Taurus" by the
band Spirit, and they sound similar. Now it is for the court to decide.
Vanilla Ice became incredibly famous during the 90s, not because of his talent,
but because of the copyright infringement that occurred when it came to light
that he had sampled Queen and David Bowies Under Pressure without consent
or license. This case never went to court as it was clear that Vanilla Ice had stolen
the sample without permission. He settled out of court with Queen and David
Bowie for an undisclosed, but very likely very high amount.
Here are some things you can do to ensure your music is safe and protected by
1. Ensure your work is properly marked write a notice that will state
that the work is protected by law. Experts can help you word this notice.
2. Register your work this provides verifiable proof of the date and
content of your work. Experts can help you register your work by your
countrys laws.
3. Keep supporting evidence keep evidence of your progress and work
ideas, drafts, rough recordings, etc.
Patent and trade mark agency Mihailovic can help you protect your copyrighted
music from being stolen and used without consent.